In the Highest Traditions of the Royal Navy

In the Highest Traditions of the Royal Navy : The Life of Captain John Leach MVO DSO

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On 10 December 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Amongst the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. He embodied the best of the service, and truly was in `the highest traditions of the Royal Navy'.

In this book, Matthew B. Wills tells the story of John Leach, and analyses the influences which shaped him and led him ultimately to his heroic end. He traces his life from his time at Royal Naval College Osborne and Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, his relationship with his loyal wife Evelyn, his baptism of fire in the service when he survived a direct shell hit to the bridge where he was standing, and his time as Captain of the Prince of Wales. He describes Leach's role as commander during the Battle of the Denmark Strait, during which the damage Prince of Wales inflicted on the Bismarck forced the latter to retreat to France, and later during her ill-fated mission to Singapore as part of Force Z, an attempt to intercept Japanese landings in Malaya. In the Highest Traditions of the Royal Navy presents an authoritative portrait of one of the service's finest, which will be of great interest to the general reader and students of the period.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 26mm | 458.13g
  • Stroud, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0752459929
  • 9780752459929
  • 1,440,008

About Matthew B. Wills

Matthew B. Wills received a commission in the US Army after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1954. His time in the service was mostly spent in the UK at RAF Station Mildenhall and RAF Station Upper Heyford, and after release from active duty he graduated from the University of Colorado Law School. He went on to practise in Colorado Springs for 32 years. He is the author of Wartime Missions of Harry L Hopkins, A Diminished President: FDR in 1944 and The Lindbergh Report. He lives in Colorado Springs. Lieutenant Commander Douglas Hadler RN joined the Royal Navy in 1958. He served at sea on the Home, Caribbean, Mediterranean and Far East stations as well as two periods ashore in the Ministry of Defence and two on the Commander-in-Chief's staff at Northwood. He retired from the service in 1980 and took up an administrative job in NATO, during which time he spent six months in Zagreb as Theatre Budget Officer for the whole NATO force during Bosnia operations. He lives in Buckinghamshire. Admiral Sir Jock Slater CGB LVO DL joined the Royal Navy in 1958, and went on to command HMS Jupiter (1972-1973), HMS Kent (1976-1977) and HMS Illustrious (1981-1983). In 1991 he became Commander-in-Chief Fleet and in 1993 Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. He was First Sea Lord from 1995 to 1998. After retiring he has held a variety of posts including Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, Chairman of the RNLI and Chairman of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum.
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